We at Adventures For Solo Travelers, are always studying travel spending countless hours reading travel articles.  This was interesting…

Planes filter air even faster than standard hospital operating room, DoD study says

“The results are in: Your exposure to COVID-19 is almost non-existent on our flights,” United tweeted about the study.

The air is changed in the jets even more frequently than in a standard hospital operating room, the study found. It takes just six minutes for 99.99% of particles to be filtered out of the cabin.

Airlines have taken a big hit as the coronavirus pandemic caused travelers to cancel, postpone or not book flights. As of last week, domestic air travel was still down 62% and international air travel was down 79% compared to a year ago, according to industry group Airlines for America.

Even on a long flight, the risk of exposure is “minimal,” the study found. The higher risk comes from sitting in the same row as someone with the virus, followed by the rows directly in front and behind them.

The greatest risk may come from talking to a neighboring passenger while eating or drinking without a mask, which the study didn’t specifically test.

The researchers noted that they only tested with standard three-ply surgical masks, one of the most popular types and the same kind the airline supplies. However, other face coverings like gaiters, cotton masks or masks made of other materials could vary in their effectiveness.

It also may not be easy to ensure everyone will follow airlines’ mask requirements. Reports of disputes over passengers refusing to wear masks have popped up regularly since the summer, and even if a maskless passenger is kicked off a plane, other people could have already been exposed.

The study also suggested that it’s beneficial to load passengers in smaller groups and allow space on jetways to maintain social distancing.

United and the other major U.S. airlines are requiring passengers to wear masks aboard their planes. The airlines have also added other safety protocols like increased cleaning and reduced contact with flight attendants.

 

SOLO TRAVEL TOURS –

What is the state of Solo Group Travel today?  How will singles travel groups move forward?  USTOA has some data on this.  Let’s take a look…

USTOA Survey: 2021 Will Most Likely See Travel Recovery

by Matt Turner

Aug 28, 2020 11:37am

“The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) released new findings from surveys of its Tour Operator Active Members and destination management Associate Members about post-COVID-19 plans for recovery and resumption of business—and not much of it is good.

According to the survey, just over one-third (38 percent) of active members have seen an increase in bookings in the last 60 days; another third (38 percent) have seen no change in bookings during this timeframe, with the remaining 24 percent reporting a decrease in bookings. In the June survey, two-thirds of tour operators reported an increase in bookings over the previous 60 days.

As a follow-up, USTOA asked when new passengers are booked to travel, based solely on bookings made in the last 60 days. Active Members reported the following:

While 10 percent have bookings made for the third quarter of 2020, another 19 percent of responding Active Members report that they have new passenger bookings scheduled for travel in the fourth quarter of 2020

One-third (33 percent) say they have received bookings for Q1 2021 travel

Three-fourths (76 percent) report passenger bookings for second quarter of 2021

Eight out of ten Active Members (79 percent) are reporting travel bookings for the third quarter of 2021

Half (52 percent) report new bookings being made for Q4 2021 travel

Roughly one-third (31 percent) of members report new passenger bookings for 2022

Best tour companies solo travelers destinations update:

Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of current Active Member traveler bookings are to “international” destinations, the remaining 27 percent of traveler bookings are to North America (U.S., Canada and Mexico). 

USTOA asked when Active Members anticipate restarting operations in destinations around the world. The results are as follows:

Africa: Nearly a half (43 percent) of tour operators foresee restarting operations in the first quarter of 2021, while one-quarter (27 percent) anticipate returning to the region in the second quarter of 2021.

Antarctica: A quarter (24 percent) of respondents with itineraries to Antarctica anticipate resuming operations in the second quarter of 2021, showing a significant change from the June survey where 0 percent of members said they had anticipated returning within that same timeframe.  Roughly 18 percent of Active Members anticipate a first quarter 2021 return. 

Asia: Six in 10 Active Member respondents (60 percent) foresee a potential return to Asia between the first and second quarters of 2021.

Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands: The most selected response for a potential operations restart in the region was the third quarter of 2021 at 33 percent. This reflects a significant shift in timing compared to the June Active Member survey, where more than half (53 percent) anticipated resuming operations to the region during the first quarter of 2021. 

Canada: More than one-third (38 percent) of Active Members see the second quarter of 2021 as the potential return to operations in Canada, while another quarter (28 percent) anticipate returning to the region in the first quarter of 2021.  Results from the survey conducted in June reported that nearly half (48 percent) of respondents were optimistic in returning to Canada between September and October 2020; now only 10 percent anticipate a return within that timeframe. 

Central America: The most selected response for a potential operations restart in the region was the first quarter of 2021 at 52 percent, jumping up from 33 percent in the June survey. 

Europe: More than one-third (37 percent) of respondents anticipate resuming operations in Europe in the first quarter of 2021, reflecting a big shift from the survey conducted in June, which reported that a similar 33 percent anticipated a September 2020 return. None of the current survey respondents anticipate returning to Europe next month.  

Mexico: One-third (32 percent) of tour operator respondents with programs in Mexico anticipate returning in the first quarter of 2021, showing a 12 percent increase from the June research report.

South America: Almost half (44 percent) of tour operators with programs to countries in South America anticipate resuming operations in the first quarter of 2021, showing a 14 percent increase compared to the survey response in June. Another 19 percent anticipate resuming operations within the second quarter of 2021.

United States: Respondents showed new optimism for an August 2020 return to business, with the response jumping to 34 percent, compared to 11 percent reported in the June survey.

DMO Update 

USTOA asked destination management Associate Members when their destination anticipates opening tourism to North American travelers. Almost half (46 percent) of the respondents selected “other,” which included a select number of countries that are open now with testing and quarantine restrictions, but a majority noted “too early to determine” (up from 32 percent in the June survey). According to the same DMO Associate Member survey, roughly 14 percent anticipate a January 2021 opening for North American tourism, while another 14 percent expect to open in April 2021 or beyond.   

The survey also reflected a sizable change in the expectation of a September 2020 reopening for North American travelers. In June, 17 percent of DMO respondents anticipated reopening to North America next month; now, that number has decreased to 5 percent.

Product Types and Group Size 

DMOs named FIT as the tourism product they believe will come back the soonest and strongest as their destination begins to reopen to tourism. Small groups (less than 26 passengers) was ranked second, nature/adventure in third, followed by luxury, medium groups (20-50 passengers), large groups (50-plus passengers) and river cruises. Ocean cruises was ranked to come back last.

When asked what group size limitations may be in place once tourism from North America is open, more than a third of USTOA DMO Associate Members selected it was “too early to determine” for both coaches (38 percent) and gatherings (37 percent). For coaches, 16 percent responded that size limitations may be up to 20 people maximum, while 9 percent noted potential group size limitations of up to 50 people, and 8 percent selected up to 10 people. Roughly 5 percent responded that coach limitation could be set at up to 15 people, while another 5 percent selected a limitation of up to 100 people. Only 2 percent selected coach size limitations of up to five people maximum. The remaining 19 percent selected “other.” 

When it comes to health and safety practices, an overwhelming 91 percent of DMOs say they will use their own governments’ health and hygiene protocol. More than half (57 percent) reported that they will rely on World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)/World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, while 31 percent noted that other health organizations guidelines will be utilized.

The Active Member survey was completed on August 14, with a 64 percent response rate of Active Member brands. The destination management survey was completed on August 19, with a 49 percent response rate of DMO Associate Members.

Source USTOA.

Here’s a great article to help single travelers stay abreast of the solo travel news. Our travel groups for solo travelers are not your typical tourists, they are informed travelers.   Adventures For Solo Travelers or “AFS” started as Adventures For Singles nearly 30 years ago.  Today we are paused, but will still leading groups around the world in 2021.

American, Delta join United in axing change fees
By Robert Silk |Aug 31, 2020

American and Delta have followed United, announcing that they won’t bring back change fees on domestic airfares, with the exception of basic economy fares.
The announcements, made within minutes of each other Monday afternoon, followed a similar one United made a day earlier.
American, though, is going further than its Big Three rivals, also announcing the long-term end of change fees on flights to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, all three carriers charged fees of $200 for any itinerary changes unless flyers paid a premium for a changeable ticket. Airlines suspended those fees at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, but until now the suspensions had been planned as temporary ones.

Getting rid of the fees could be costly for airlines. In 2019, mainline U.S. carriers earned $2.84 billion in change and cancellation fees, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Delta hauled in $830 million, American brought in $819 million and United brought in $625 million.
Before the pandemic, Southwest was the only mainline U.S. carrier that didn’t charge change fees.
Under the policy announced by United on Sunday, flyers who make changes will be issued a voucher that lasts a year. If the voucher is used on a fare that is cheaper than the original fare, a customer will lose the difference in value.

American said Monday that its policy will be more customer friendly. Flyers who buy a less expensive flight after a change will keep whatever is left over as a credit for future travel.
Delta did not specify what its voucher policy would be.
American also said that beginning Oct. 1 it will do away with its $75 same-day standby fee.
In addition, later in the fall the carrier will for the first time offer upgrade privileges and access to main cabin preferred and main cabin extra seats to Elite status AAdvantage members traveling with basic economy tickets.

#singlesTravelInternational


 We just returned from a springtime immersion in the land of windmills on a tour never to be forgotten. Everyone in the Netherlands bikes and the rest of the world is catching on to the joy of Slow Travel to deeply connect to the landscapes and culture.  April was the best month to experience the charming wonders of Haarlem, Alkmaar, Leiden, Gouda, Pumerand and dynamic Amsterdam.

 I am not a biker, but discovered this to be exceedingly delightful. The key is a good guide.  Click to read on...

“Coddiwomple” means to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination. I’ll be coddiwompling my way to regions unknown to me. Intentionally, I google nothing and reviewed no maps. This would dilute my joy of discovery. I revel in the element of surprise to confirm the axiom, ‘Tourists don’t know where they’ve been and travelers don’t know they’re going.”

Born with genetic wanderlust, I have an insatiable curiosity to explore the globe and seek the exotic places to reboot my passion for travel. Third World journeys always give me a story to tell. , I can never become a story teller sipping umbrella drinks on a cruise ship. Bring it on! …places that speak no English, broken infrastructure, no electricity (I have a butane hair curler) and funky toilets. There’s always challenges to get one’s adventure on. For me, an ordeal is preferable to a pampered vacation. Not everyone understands this, but it’s not their journey to make sense of.  Click to read on…

Have you ever considered vacationing alone? For some people, the mere thought of solo vacations makes them break out into a cold sweat. However, sometimes the best travel companion you can ever have is yourself. There are many reasons why you may be considering taking off across country or even overseas all by yourself, and you’re not alone.

The solo vacation industry has been growing astronomically over the past few years, and when you join a group, you aren’t actually by yourself. Instead, you get the benefits of solo travel as well as the advantages of a group adventure.

Most people who travel alone are treating themselves, either for a new job, a graduation, recovery from an illness, or just because they enjoy their own company. Here are some reasons why striking off on your own can be enjoyable and liberating.

After a long period of work, there is nothing better than a nice vacation. Many people plan vacations with family or friends, but getting everyone together at the same time can be quite the challenge. Sometimes, it is easier (and often more fun) if you just go it alone. However, traveling solo can be daunting and a bit intimidating — luckily, it doesn’t have to be if you join some group travel tours.

Traveling with a group can be a great experience for the solo traveler. Joining a group travel tour means you are never alone, and you can make friends and feel more secure in your journey. To make the most of a group travel adventure, check out these tips.

The idea of taking a solo vacation is an exciting yet intimidating one, especially for some women. Many women dream of traveling to other countries by themselves to learn about other cultures and do exactly what they want to do in their own time, yet few women actually take the plunge and pack their bags. They may wonder if solo travel tours are safe for women, or whether a solo travel tour will be affordable. Here are some reasons women shouldn’t think twice about taking a solo trip and why if you’re female you should embrace wanderlust!

You Have the Ultimate Freedom

When you’re on a solo getaway, you have complete control over your schedule and the freedom to do what you want, when you want. For the modern woman having a break from our busy lives essential for recharging and taking on the world. Whether it is a trip on the Windstar or a solo trip to Hawaii, taking time for yourself and being your schedule can help you meet any challenge. On solo travel tours, women can decide when they want to sleep in, when they want to get up early and watch the sunrise, and how they want to spend their days and nights. When you’re flying solo, you’re in control!

You Can Meet New People

Traveling solo pushes you to step outside that comfort zone and meeting new people becomes much easier. People in other countries will often approach solo travelers, especially those who are female and offer to lend a helping hand. Their intentions are usually good and they’re simply curious about you and want you to feel at home in their city. Meeting new people when traveling alone can make your experience much richer and give you a new outlook on humanity!

Traveling Alone is Empowering

Simply put, solo travel tours are empowering for women. Making the decision to go—and then actually going—is a great way to boost your confidence and put yourself first. Being a solo traveler helps you grow as a person because you’ll almost always do things you’d never thought you’d do and experience things you never thought you’d experience. You’ll learn new things about yourself and how you handle different situations, and you’ll push yourself beyond all the limits you ever placed on yourself. Traveling solo and experiencing the world with just yourself can truly help you discover who you are as a human being, where you fit into in the world, and become rooted in the understanding of yourself.

Are You Ready to Book Your Solo Travel Tour?

On a solo travel tour, every choice is your own and the only compromises you have to make are the ones you want to make. You’re in control of your destiny.

If you’re ready to experience the world in a whole new way, reach out to Adventures for Solo Travelers. We have several solo trips arranged to bring you to unique places. Contact us today for more information at 877-813-9421 or 770-432-8225.

 

“How was your solo trip?” A question friends often ask after my latest adventure.

A few years ago, if you had asked me, I would have said Ethiopia and India were in a tie for the last places I’d visit. Fortunately, fate intervened – Ethiopia and the stone churches of Lalibela were a treasure and India … well, India is a land where humanity presents itself in the most dizzying, creative burst of culture and religions, races and tongues. It’s a place impossible to not be astonished by.

Adventures For Solo Travelers (AFS) is a solo travel experience like none other I’ve found – for starters, it is a family owned business run by the energetic Suzy Davis, who has an almost encyclopedic brain of the world. She and her husband Terry meticulously plan each adventure, and they far surpass the offerings of the typical bland tour company.

This solo trip to India is no exception. It’s summer here and oh-so-very hot, but that’s the best time to see the beasts of the jungle in all their glory. Just when I think Suzy can’t possibly top the last adventure … she amazes me once again. I am writing this poolside from the stunning Oberoi Vanyavils resort next to Ranthambhore National Park, home to about 60 Bengal tigers living in the wild.

But I am jumping ahead.

If you’re looking for a solo getaway you will never forget look no further than Adventures for Solo Travelers. We take travelers right here in our backyard to exciting, un-touristy locations they might not be able to travel to on their own. Hankering to see something new? Then, check out our following upcoming adventures.

Sky Spa with the Alps at Your Feet

It’s not too late to plan a summer getaway, and our Sky Spa trip is the perfect option. Scheduled from June 23 to July 1, this trip takes you through charming European villages in four countries: Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. The experience starts with adventurous activities such as snow tubing and paragliding in the alps. After a day of it gives you time to wind down at one of the poshest, most relaxing spas in Europe.

If you’ve always dreamed of stepping into the opening scene of the Sound of Music, this is the trip for you. You get to see the one of the world’s most stunning mountain ranges, while also enjoying Swiss chocolate, German schnitzel, and other classic delights from this corner of the world.